The flat is firmly back on British racecourses and Newmarket’s Craven meeting is into full swing.
It’s a devilishly tricky time for punting given so many unknowns like race fitness or the strength of two-year-old form – that said, I’m keen to have a bet in the meeting’s feature race the Craven Stakes where the co-favourites Rivet and War Decree look vulnerable.
War Decree shades it at the moment at 9/4 on the back of a decent two-year-old campaign which peaked with a Group win at Goodwood, however he’s trained by Aidan O’Brien whose horses almost always need their first run of the season and is unlikely to be 100% for this – despite a handicap win yesterday, his horses have been getting turned over all week.
With entries in the English and Irish 2000 Guineas it’s safe to assume War Decree is being aimed at bigger and better things, so we will pass.
Rivet won the Group One Racing Post Trophy so has the best form in the race, but there’s a big question mark over his ability to handle the undulating Newmarket track after he ran his only disappointing race to date in the Dewhurst Stakes last season.
There’s also no guarantee he’s trained on so the value lies elsewhere.
The two unexposed horses I like in the race are Eminent, a one-from-one unbeaten Frankel colt, and Benbatl, an easy maiden winner earlier this month for Godolphin.
Connections of Eminent are clearly excited given his blue blood, but a lot of Frankel two-year-olds won their maidens last year before getting found out at Group level so I’m not mad on the form.
He could be anything and is a nice price at 8/1, but that maiden’s form is a long way short of the best in the race.
Somewhat hypocritically, I’d rather back BENBATL at 6/1 after the horse in third in his recent maiden win went and won at this meeting a few days ago.
It’s guesswork how good he is at this stage but he’s the only horse in the race arriving with a run and proven to be in form, whilst he’s obviously another who could be anything at this stage.
Whereas the Craven is over a mile and is a trial for the 2000 Guineas over the same course and distance, Benbatl has been entered for the longer Derby and its most recognised trial, the Dante Stakes at York.
That does put a question mark over his suitability for a mile against Group horses, but I liked the way he had a gear his beaten rivals couldn’t match in his maiden and he simply looked in a different class.
1pt win Benbatl @6/1, 15:35 Newmarket, Thursday (888sport)Leave a comment